Well, last week's forecast of flooding and gales did in fact materialise so I felt vindicated in my decision to postpone even though it was clear to me that (in the nicest possible way) not everyone understood what the problem was. Put simply, riding up very steep inclines in severe weather, rear wheel slipping on wet roads and falling off occasionally is bearable when it happens a few times but taking on 35 in 3 days would render the challenge into farce as opposed to any heroic man vs elements scenario etc.
None of which became relevant when I went down with fairly severe and relentless gastric flu on Friday - the same day I had been scheduled to start Leg 3. Seven days later I just about feel back to normal. The thought of being stranded (in that condition) on the side of the road, in a windswept Yorkshire Dales is not a pretty one...
However I am now the lightest I've been since 1987. Bonus! Well, no actually. As preparation for 100 Climbs I'd significantly reduced my 'maintenance' weight training since March and subsequently lost 4 kilos. Having now (reluctantly) reduced that further, I'm in danger of no longer being able to use the "I'm actually a sprinter not a climber" tag. It's upsetting, frankly.
Anyway, I've pored over what has felt like a 100 different potential routes to conquer the final 50 and have decided on what seems like the only one that gives me any chance of completing them in the remaining 5 days - either in one 'hit' or 1 x 3 and 1 x 2 day stints.
We start next Wednesday (27th) and a big thank you is due to Ian Andrew of Dot Com Agency for stepping in to the Support Crew seat for the first two and half days before handing over to me old mate, Declan Waters. Ian has been a generous supporter of 100 Climbs since the beginning but I'm not sure he knows what he's let himself in for!
I would also like to thank BikeLux, MotorLux and Scott Sports for their patient and continuing support of the challenge. The Mazda 6 Estate and Scott Foil have been truly outstanding so far.
Those of you who've followed the challenge on Facebook will know how much Helen Carpenter-Waters of UKFA has helped me get through to this point: coping with things she hates - driving, heights, bridges, a lack of 5 star accommodation and good coffee shops. Did I mention driving??! Seriously though Helen, you've been fantastic so far, thank you.
I'll post up the hill itinerary soon - please keep spreading the word and pointing as many people as you can to the Just Giving page. Thank you!